As a Professional Life Coach this is one of the BIGGEST issues I deal with. No matter what type of client I am working with, what their core issue is, what their lifestyle is like… everyone struggles with setting goals. And struggle even more with achieving them!
The first thing I talk about with goal setting is barriers. What are your barriers? What will hold you back from completing your goal on a daily basis? You have to consider what will hold you back, and start your process there. If you have a baby that wakes up at 6am then it probably isn’t best to set a goal for early in the morning. Also, consider your ‘limiting beliefs’. Limiting beliefs are the thoughts that keep you from doing something. Maybe your limiting belief is that the task will take too much time, maybe it will cost too much money, maybe you just don’t want to expend the energy. Identify what it is in your head that keeps you from taking the next step.
I had a client not long ago who really wanted to be dating more. She talked about joining an online dating site and had several friends who joined the site and were enjoying it. There were a few who were even in serious relationships with people they had met on the site. She realized that she and her friends had talked about doing this a year ago, and all of her friends had done it. But she had still taken no action.
We started with barriers- when you think about sitting down at the computer and joining the site, what is the thought that keeps you from actually doing it? With some discussion, we figured out for her that she felt embarrassed. She had it in her mind that if she joined the site it would appear that she can’t meet people on her own or that something was wrong with her. Well of course you aren’t going to take action if that is what you believe! So we started our work from there.
Whatever the goal is that you are putting off, consider the thought that goes through your mind when you think about doing it. What is the thing holding you back?
When you begin setting goals it is important that we don’t overwhelm ourselves. As a Life Coach, I have people all the time say, ‘I am going to start exercising again. I am going to work out an hour a day, every single day before work.’ This is waayyyyy too much in the beginning! Especially if we are coming out of a funk or a time when we haven’t been very motivated. This is the biggest mistake people make- making the goal unattainable from the beginning.
When you set your goal, start extremely small. We make the goal so small that it is nearly impossible not to achieve it! Maybe you want to start getting up earlier, so you make your goal to get up 5 minutes earlier tomorrow. It’s only 5 minutes! The key is you HAVE TO do it. That’s why we make it so small, so it doesn’t even bother us to do it.
If you want to start exercising then set your goal to walk for 5 minutes two times this week. That’s all! That’s only 10 minutes! We can all do that!
If you want to change your diet then set a goal to eat three super healthy things this week. Maybe that is a serving of broccoli with dinner, or an apple as a snack, or a Kind Bar in the morning instead of cereal. Just three things healthy, of course you can do that!
How It Works
Psychologically, when we set our goals too big and we don’t achieve them, we create a pattern of failure in our minds and brains. And this is the information we will play over and over again in our heads, our failure. When we start our goals very very small and we really DO THEM, we begin to create a pattern of success, achievement, and accomplishment.
As time goes on and you begin to create the habit of accomplishing the goal you set, you will naturally want to increase the goal. Maybe the next week you get up 10 minutes earlier two times, or you increase your walk to 7 minutes, and increase your healthy foods to 4 a week. When we are creating new habits it is very important to start small. It will change your mind and your life!